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New grants to help businesses adapt

 

We're launching new business growth grants as part of our recovery plan for the region.

Grants of between £1,500 and £6,000 will be available to support businesses from all sectors to adapt to challenges due to Covid-19. Funding can be used for activity that creates jobs, new products and services or increases productivity.

Businesses based in Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucestershire will be able to apply for the grants between March 22 and April 4, but can pre-register now. We will provide 80% of the funding and businesses will be asked to commit 20%. 

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Successful Future Bright scheme will continue

We’re extending our free Future Bright career coaching and support service for three years, following a successful pilot.

Future Bright has already helped over 2,000 people across our region with one-to-one support from a professional career coach. Over 1,000 of those have entered training and at least 600 have increased their income. 

Ahead of Careers Week (1-6 March), we can announce that we're investing £3.6 million to extend the scheme to support residents develop the skills that businesses and employers need, to help the region's recovery. 

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Getting the region moving
 
We continue to invest in sustainable transport, including plans to transform rail, e-scooter trials, e-cycles, and electric vehicle charging points.

For the first time the West of England has a 10-year rail plan, working with Network Rail and councils to build on the ambitious MetroWest programme. We’re investing £470,000 to progress work including: enhancing stations with improved seating, shelters, cycle parking, CCTV and lighting alongside improving accessibility; extending MetroWest to the south; proposals for more connections east to west and north of Bristol in future timetables as well as the creation of a new Bristol to Oxford service.


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£40m investment for new homes


A £40m injection of funding will help to create more homes, more quickly across the region.  
 
The WECA  Committee and West of England Joint Committee have approved our new  Housing  Delivery  Strategy which sets out the ambitions to increase and accelerate the delivery of new homes for the region  between now and 2030. 

 
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Improving mental health at work
 

We’re offering support to businesses to help improve their employees’ mental health and resilience – which can also have a positive impact on their productivity.
 
Advice on compassionate leadership is available through our Thrive at Work West of England programme, which aims to address the key mental health issues that businesses say are affecting their employees. Training is targeted towards small and medium-sized businesses and ethnic minority-led companies to help support those who may have been impacted the most by Covid-19. It includes e-learning to equip managers with the confidence and skills to have supportive conversations with their staff about mental health and wellbeing. 

 
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Digital Skills Investment programme call extension


Our £2m Digital Skills programme will address businesses' growing demand for digital skills to drive recovery and growth, close the skills gap and fill vacancies - providing training/retraining opportunities for residents. The deadline for applications from medium and higher level skills organisations has been extended to Monday 1 March 2021 (12 noon).

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Walking and cycling trail plans move a step forward


Plans to create a new 2.7km walking and cycling trail around Chew Valley Lake are set to take a step forward with a £1m investment from WECA.
 
The Chew Valley Recreational Trail is one of several schemes under a regional Green Infrastructure programme, to support the West of England Joint Green Infrastructure Strategy.


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Mayor's blog
In this week's blog, Mayor Tim Bowles talks about support for small businesses.

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The West of England Combined Authority (WECA) covers
Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucestershire.
WECA also supports the Local Enterprise Partnership and
Joint Committee, which includes North Somerset.


Our mailing address is:
West of England Combined Authority, 3 Rivergate, Temple Way, Bristol BS1 6ER

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